Campaign to save Britain's smallest pub

A CAMPAIGN to safeguard the future of Britain's smallest pub, which attracts visitors from all over the world to a Suffolk town, is launched by the EADT today.

A CAMPAIGN to safeguard the future of Britain's smallest pub, which attracts visitors from all over the world to a Suffolk town, is launched by the EADT today.

Civic leaders, MPs and regulars at The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds have already backed calls for action to ensure the historic landmark is not forced to close.

Landlord Martin Baylis says he has been struggling to make ends meet at the much-loved establishment, which measures just 15ft by 7ft, since St Edmundsbury Borough Council refused an application to put six tables and chairs outside the premises.

It was hoped the seating facilities would help boost the pub's custom, but Mr Baylis fears it will be forced to close if a new application to have tables and chairs along its frontage, in The Taverse, is also refused.

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Now the EADT is now urging its readers to Save the Nutshell.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council refused the seating application after a nearby shop owner objected to the scheme.

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But Mr Baylis said it would be "a disaster" for Bury St Edmunds if the world-famous watering hole was taken away from the town.

"This is an excellent campaign, I am just glad someone has recognised the importance of the place. The Nutshell is vital to Bury St Edmunds in terms of tourism because we attract people here from all over the world," he said.

"The building dates back to 1670 and has been an inn for 131 years and it has always been the same size, it is absolutely unique."

Mr Baylis said the council should treasure the value of the Greene-King owned pub and do everything it could to help it survive.

Historically, the pub had benches outside the premises, but they were removed in 1990 following a complaint from former St Edmundsbury mayor Reg Self, who said passers-by were subjected to foul language.

Mr Baylis is certain the 1990 experience is the reason why authority is now reluctant to back his plans - but he brands this attitude "unfair and out of date".

"I think the authority needs to stop looking at what happened all those years ago, the pub has changed so much since then and so has the clientele.

"When you look around here there are three other establishments with tables and chairs outside, it seems very unfair," he said.

"Our trade is generally tourist-based and we need to get as many people in here as possible. At the moment many people walk by and think it is too crowded, so they don't come in, obviously if we had tables and chairs outside more people would stop and have a drink. It really could mean the difference between staying open or closing."

The EADT is now be asking readers for their views on the whether the council should help save the pub by completing the form.

It can then be sent to the EADT at Save the Nutshell, 11 Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds. Special postboxes will also be put at various points in the town over the next few days - with further details to be published in the EADT.

Do you think St Edmundsbury Borough Council should allow The Nutshell to have tables and chairs outside, to help preserve its future? YES NO

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